“There are two things we should give to our children- one is roots and the other is wings.”
Since I was a child I had heard and read this quote many a times and it did make me believe in the importance of having both – roots to know where we came from and belonged and wings to fly and know where we could reach.
I was completely sold off to this beautiful, profound idea and made extra efforts to remain attached to my roots while first developing and then fluttering, flapping and flying with my painstakingly discovered wings.
I was among those fortunate ones whose parents too believed in the theory and thus gave us the luxury of higher education enabling our wings of freedom.
Living the idea that promoted the importance of learning was fruitful and like most of my well educated peer group I too tasted some dosage of freedom and happiness by becoming financially independent. The liberties that came because of the self reliance further strengthened my belief and I advocated the roots and wings analogy of human growth and development for a very long time, until I realized something novel.
A new analogy which is far more liberating and way less limiting and quite unlike the much popular and ancient roots and wings philosophy.
My realization moved me away from the well loved theory and that had its reasons. To understand my reasons, let’s first understand what the popular analogy really meant. It meant that to be free in this world we should get educated, find a vocation or profession which allows us our financial freedom and at the same time we stay closer or attached to our family, culture, place or country and contribute to them.
It is like aiming to become a bird and have the freedom to fly around and feel the occasional wind beneath the wings and at the same time remaining attached to a tree, with of course roots, and return to the nest in the tree after a day’s flight with the twigs and worms for the dependents.
Just picture it inside your mind, a bird having small, restricted flights and returning to the same place everyday. When I visualized it, it appeared very restricting and limiting to me. The wings that were so hardly earned seemed to tease their owner about his original wish to try new heights or make bigger trips and mocked him of his self bounded limitations.
In a time when the whole world has become a small village, people can so easily connect with the entire world, there are bigger platforms available to make the world your play field and when the issues and challenges are global and you are required to make bigger contributions, why settle for small wings and a small perimeter of living life and flying?
Why restrict your worldview and become myopic when you actually thought you were getting educated to see the world and think big? I realized that our old philosophy didn’t have the scope of dreaming big and making any world changing impact. It only intended to make us providers for self and a few dependents and live a life of drudgery and discontentment without having a clue that what was even causing the dissatisfaction because theoretically all seemed well and accomplished.
I felt the discontentment with my short wings and had always rebelled with the roots. So my yearning made me discover another philosophy of growth and I call it “satellite and remote control” analogy.
Yes. A satellite. We can become a human satellite that revolves around the whole earth serving bigger purposes, enjoying the detached freedom and remaining attached with its benefactors through a much bigger force. It’s a much more valuable and significant way of living while enjoying being in a much much bigger, unrestricted space.
Think again. Rather than small wings given by basic education, we acquire a launcher that would be a world class, skill oriented, professional education and in place of flying in the limited sky with limited opportunities and cut throat competition, we float in the open, boundary-less universe with more meaningful options and opportunities.
Become a human satellite and do what the satellites do. Revolve around the whole world, guiding and navigating the seekers or aiding in communications, keeping an eye on the climatic changes or the outer world happenings, in whatever way making a bigger impact. If you think of it, satellites have played the biggest role in the evolved world we live in today.
In the world that’s changing at a unparalleled pace, roots aren’t purely progressing and wings aren’t sufficiently sufficient anymore in the overcrowded sphere where the big and small birds are dashing and crashing into each other and the flying around is less fun but more of a suffocating race.
If you wish to fly high become a world class scientist, techie, economist, analyst, author, psychologist, entrepreneur, environmentalist, activist, artist, physicist, academician, philosopher, orator, designer, sportsperson, musician, singer, game changer. Become a world class player making a big difference to the bigger community and world you are a no B B part of, rather than just serving the interests of four people in the name of roots. Mind it, the four people and the roots will never be abandoned, rather they will be the biggest benefiters from your world class legacy. But initially they may not understand as the roots analogy is well rooted inside our heads but they will eventually realize when they see your growth.
History has many examples to prove this. Limitations, boundaries, attachments were never great for creative minds with bigger purposes. Great minds were always reclusive and preferred being distant from the trivia and nuances of a mediocre person’s life. Buddha in ancient ages and Einstein in modern times were distant from the world and hence discovered their geniuses which served a bigger purpose to the same world and their kith and kin wasn’t less grateful for their chosen paths and progress they made for themselves and the humanity.
Thanks to all the modern technology and advancements we can achieve their level of detachment, enlightenment, purposefulness and remote attachment, all simultaneously without really becoming reclusive. In any case today people are withdrawn from the near and dear ones and are lost in a different world commonly called digital world which has much better uses than just entertainment or infotainment.
Living in a physically distant world seems far less dangerous to me than losing one’s self in a self centered, digital and material world. Parents who still wish to own their children by keeping them at their side need to see that they are already too distant and only self focused in the technological era they are born in. So why have the pretense of keeping them attached when in reality you that they aren’t?
If your young one or you yourself are a highflying seeker, if you have a strong burning desire which is the fuel that fires up and gives the throw, you just need to find your launcher that can successfully launch you and get you established in your far from worldly trivia, your personal orbit from where you will be doing the big things and being more useful with the remote controls well in place.
Your skills and a world class learning can become your launch pad. Your personal traits, habits and qualities will ensure your smooth transition without you exploding under the pressure and your bigger purpose will act like the greatest force, the gravity and will keep you established in your distant orbit while your emotions keep you attached to your roots, irrespective of where you are.
In the world of today, personal achievement has to find a bigger meaning. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is almost achieved by the children of well to do parents. Their basic, psychological and self esteem needs are amply met by their providers and that’s why they are going off the old course and the old philosophy is of no great good to them. They don’t value the wings or the roots anymore.
It’s time we give them bigger goal of self actualization which gets achieved when a person lives and works to realize one’s true potential and not just to fulfill the smaller needs. Needless to say, any self actualizing person will automatically fulfill those lower needs.
The Generation Alpha who I have majorly written this article for and their predecessors if they too wish to fly high, need to change their approach and discover ways and means and invest time in enhancing and building skills that can take them to a world class level of fulfillment and accomplishment and a way of life that’s more whole, holy and holistic.
That would be actually aiming for and reaching the stars. And isn’t that the only thing left for we mortals to achieve?